Number of Cruises: 17
Cruise Line: Princess
Ship: Sea Princess
Sailing Date: October 2nd, 2004
Itinerary: Mexican Riviera
This cruise was 10 nights
long and it was absolutely WONDERFUL! We live in the San Francisco Bay
Area and this ship sailed from Pier 35 in San Francisco. This is the very
first cruise that we didn't have to fly to our destination. Yeah!
We were on board the Sapphire Princess around 11:20 a.m. The first thing we did was check out our Mini-Suite D730 on the Dolphin Deck aft. The suite was nice and roomy. We had originally booked a regular balcony, then our FANASTIC TA told us about a "Flash Sale" regarding the mini-suite so we upgraded. We couldn't pass up the price! Later when prices began to rise, and while monitoring the web for availability I was dumbfounded to see internet pricing for INSIDE ROOMS more expensive than our mini-suite. In reality though, next time I would save the money and stick with a balcony. The balconies were on the higher decks. Our mini-suite's deck was completely open. The first morning after the evening of sail I walked out on our deck around 7:00 am to check out the views and the weather. I heard a very LOUD "Good Morning" from one of our neighbors on a higher deck. There is no way you could walk around au natural. Ha ha!
The ship itself is absolutely gorgeous, and HUGE. This was our 17th cruise, so I have been on a lot of nice ships, but this one just blew all the others away.
Food: 5 stars
The eats were outstanding, especially the BREADS, pasta's and hot soups. Be sure to try the Warm Rice Pudding, with a Creme Bulee Topping in he Santa Fe Restaurant. It is heavenly. Although we wanted Traditional Seating (like almost everyone else on this ship) we ended up with Personal Choice Dining. There are 4 restaurants to chose from. We like to eat early so the first 2 days we just walked right up and got in right away. The 3rd day I called to make a reservation at one of the restaurants and the concierge service told me all 4 restaurants were RESERVED until 10:00 p.m. that night! After that fiasco, I called & booked the reservations for the rest of the cruise all at one time. They do hold 10-20% of the tables vacant for WALK-IN'S for the 5:30 time frame, but after that you will need to sit and wait.
Service: 5 stars for the Cabin Steward ---- 4 stars for the Waiters & Assistant Waiters
Ports: 5 stars for all. Catalina Island, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, San Diego
Catalina Island: It was our third time there so we walked to the Casino, and down the seaside front where there are lots of cutesy shops. Catalina is a very charming town, and not to be missed.
Puerto Vallarta: It was a very HOT, OVERCAST, and Muggy. We took the ship's off the Beaten Track Tour. I had taken this last October with my Mom and our driver at that time took us up into the hills to see where the RICH & FABULOUSLY WEALTHY LIVE, then we went shopping where the locals go. That trip was much better. This time our driver did nothing special. Just took us down the waterfront, Casa Kimberly where Richard Burton and Liz Taylor lived, and shopping where the tourists hang out. I was disappointed. Having said that P.V. is a beautiful place.
Mazatlan: This was the highlight of our trip. I had booked an independent tour via internet with Frank of Mazatlan Tours/Ole Tours. I had advertised on the cruise msg boards for others to join us, and were fortunate enough to have 5 other people hook up with us on this journey. Frank met us at the cruise terminal. He took us all around the island, and showed us "The Real Mexico" with all its points of interest. He has a dynamite personality, and made the tour not only fascinating, but LOTS OF FUN AS WELL. He charged us $40 p/p and it included a great lunch at a Mexican Cafe. Everyone had a terrific time, and we were all sorry to say goodbye to our new amigo Frank. For those interested I highly recommend him.
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Cabo San Lucas: It was boiling hot, humid, and totally sunny. My husband was getting overheated so we just walked around down the main drag. Cabo is a lovely city, we have been to this port twice before so we just bummed it.
San Diego/La Jolla: We did the ship's excursion called Diego & La Jolla Highlights Tour. This tour is fantastic, we drove around for about 4 hours with a few stops in between. The scenery is breathtaking. San Diego and La Jolla have excellent weather year round, and our day there was a perfect one. If you want a good time, kick up your heels in old town.
Disembarkation: The best we have ever experienced. Princess has instituted a winner in creating "Express Checkout." We left our bags in our room and walked off the ship with them at 7:30 a.m. Hailed a cab, got on Cal-Train and walked through our front door at 10:15 a.m.
Summary - LOVED THE SHIP, THE FOOD, and PORTS.